In December 2016 the Department of Industry Innovation and Science awarded WiTWA a grant under the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship Program to fund our techtrails STEM incursion program. This Federal Government Program aims to support women in STEM and remove barriers that stop women taking part in STEM education and careers, including entrepreneurship. The initiative also provides funding for businesses, not-for-profits and research organisations to support outreach programmes that target girls and women to encourage their interest in entrepreneurship, develop their innovation and entrepreneurial skills and build their professional networks.
For WiTWA this grant will go towards funding the delivery of our techtrails STEM incursion program to 10 schools throughout WA in 2017. Our unique WiTWA program celebrates STEM role models in science and research, entrepreneurship and corporate leadership to inspire secondary students. As one of only 24 national recipients in this first grant round (and being only 1 of 3 WA recipients), we are incredible proud of having the impact and success of our techtrails program recognised in this manner.
Acknowledging the declining numbers of students choosing technology, science and engineering career paths, WiTWA launched the techtrails STEM outreach program in 2010, with the first techtrail delivered in 2011. The program is designed to generate passion, excitement and interest in technology and science based careers to motivate secondary students to explore and pursue related study and career opportunities.
We present techtrails incursions to both female and male students, emphasising the importance of positive female role modelling of women in STEM careers to all genders. The program is targeted at girls and boys in years 9 and 10, predominantly studying in regional schools and those with a strong STEM technology focus. Since inception the program has reached over 1,100 students. The positive feedback from students and teachers alike has been to date overwhelming.
We are thrilled that this grant will enable us to now expand our reach significantly and deliver 8 techtrails in the Perth metro area and 2 in regional WA throughout 2017. We will also be hosting 2 techtrails for teachers and educators later in the year! If you would like to help us in delivering this program either as a speaker, volunteer or industry supporter, please get in touch with any one of our Committee members; we would love to hear from you!